Most homeowners fail to consider why gutters are important when purchasing a property, especially in regions where they are not mandatory. Some perceive them as fixtures that need regular maintenance and cleaning to prevent clogging, but they serve a more crucial role.
The purpose of gutters and downspouts is to prevent landscape erosion, keep the foundation intact, and prevent water damage to the exterior surfaces like siding. They also keep your basement from flooding and ensure your garden beds remain in perfect condition. Rain gutters may also present some responsibilities on your part, but those can be reduced by installing gutter covers and getting a reputable roofer to conduct occasional inspections.
So, based on these facts, are gutters good for your house? The answer is yes. The protection they bring can help you save a lot of money.
What Do Gutters Do?
If you are wondering what is the point of gutters or contemplating whether you should have them installed, knowing their function can help you make the right decision.
During the rainy season, you may have up to 60 gallons of water draining from a 100 sq. ft roof. As such, you may end up having over 1000 gallons for every inch of precipitation, which can wreak havoc in your home if the flow is not controlled. Gutters ensure that the water is collected and redirected as it falls from the roof, making sure it does not damage the foundation or house structure. You will not have to deal with expensive repairs frequently, but that can only happen if you keep the gutters clean. So, in case you are wondering, “do you really need gutters installed?” The answer is, therefore, yes.
Why Does Your Home Need Gutters?
Various internal and external structures of your home are susceptible to damage by water, which is where the importance of gutters on the house comes in. The soil around the foundation can absorb water that continuously seeps into the foundation. Over time, the excess moisture begins to cause the floors and walls to crack or become damaged. Having gutters with drainpipes and in-ground lines can channel water further from the house. This is especially important when the soil around your house is red clay.
If the house is constructed at the bottom of a slope, gutters can prevent water pooling on one side. They can be built to guide the water to the downward sloping side, so there is no runoff on the ground to damage the landscape, and the house remains safe from water damage.
Properties that have little to no overhang roofs also rely on gutters to remain in perfect condition. The closer the roof is to the house, the higher the chances of rainwater landing on the foundation and causing a lot of other issues. Without gutters, the rain can cause trenches where the water frequently lands to keep the area wet for longer. That can cause more damage underground, with the moisture being absorbed in the basement resulting in extensive problems.
So, are gutters worth it? Absolutely. You can use them to channel water away from the home or harness that water for use during the dry season. In addition, you can collect the water in a tank for irrigation and other domestic purposes or drain it in a location where it will not cause erosion or structural destruction.
Possible Reasons Why Your House Does Not Have Gutters
Although they are essential, some houses may not have gutter systems. Some of the possible reasons why that may be the case include:
The age of the house: Gutters were not mandatory and are still not a must-have in some areas. As such, most older homes do not have them because the builders did not deem them necessary. Most residential properties started installing gutters in the mid-1900s, which means homes built at least 75 years ago may lack them.
Roof type: Very high-pitched roofs with bigger overhangs may not have gutters because they are already draining the water far from the house. The steeper the roof, the faster snow, rainwater, and ice can slide off. With an overhang that extends at least one foot from the house, these elements will not damage the house. The displaced water can still damage your landscape, but the property will be safe.
Dry climatic conditions: Domestic properties in arid areas do not need gutters because there isn’t much rain to protect the house. Such locations may receive sporadic rainfall, but it will not be enough to cause any significant damage.
Other factors that may make gutters less important include a landscape design that slopes downwards, thereby reducing the chances of water pooling or damage. Homes that are surrounded by concrete may also do well without gutters because the layer shields the foundation.
If you are concerned about not having gutters, talk to a professional roofing contractor. D’Angelo & Sons are available for consultations and to help you address all your roofing concerns. Contact us immediately you suspect problems are being caused by a lack of gutters, such as increased moisture levels in the basement, cracking of walls or foundation, and peeling paint on the outside walls.
What Happens if You Don’t Have Gutters
Although it is acceptable to ignore gutters under specific conditions such as those mentioned above, installing them is still the best way to give your investment the ultimate protection it deserves. If you continue to ignore the role of gutters, you will spend a lot of money and time on frequent repairs that are mostly related to excess moisture. Additional reasons why you should have gutters include:
Gutters Prevent Basement Flooding
Sometimes the design of the house determines the level of flooding in the basement, but in most cases, gutters can prevent such occurrences. For example, if you do not have concrete and water from the roof floods the area around the foundation, the soil becomes too heavy and exerts pressure on the foundation causing it to crack. With time, water will seep into the basement through those cracks, resulting in flooding. At first, the moisture passing through may not seem substantial, but eventually, the cracks become wider and more water is absorbed.
Gutters can ensure the water from the roof reaches the downspouts and is redirected from the foundation and basement. As a result, they prevent the growth of mould and other health hazards that could arise from the excess moisture, keeping your house and loved ones safe.
Gutter System Protect the Siding
Siding that is not protected by gutters tends to become rotten or mouldy. Rainwater flowing from the roof carries debris and dirt that land on the siding, causing them to stain. Constant rolling of water down the siding can also cause decaying of the material and enhance mould growth, especially when it reaches behind the siding where it cannot dry off quickly. The rotten wood can attract insects and pests and allow more water to be absorbed inside the walls. You could end up with a compromised structure that takes up a lot of money to repair.
Siding that is not protected by gutters can also lose its curb appeal, reducing the value of the house.
Gutters Also Protect Garden Beds
Flowers can improve the visual appeal of your home, and shrubs can serve as windbreakers in winter, but uncontrolled water flow can be a threat to them and any other type of garden you have. The soil around the garden can be washed by the free-falling water from the roof, which can also form duvets that get bigger over time. The longer the house remains without gutters, the more the garden will wash away. In some cases, water puddles form and drain the plants. In winter, snow can fall on the garden and refreeze to create ice sheets that eventually kill the plants.
Gutters can help you avoid the stress associated with keeping the internal house features and outside elements in perfect condition. They will prevent the formation of troughs, keep your yard looking amazing, ensure your foundation is not tampered with, and ensure your garden retains its fertile soil.
Common Gutter Complaints and Solutions
One of the main reasons most homeowners do not like gutters is their clogging, especially when the roof is close to trees that deposit debris on them regularly. You may be forced to clean your gutters regularly, which can be a costly or dangerous process depending on whether you decide to hire someone or do the job yourself.
Investing in gutter covers can solve this problem and keep birds from nesting in the gutters. Tiny debris may still get in the eavestrough, but they will be flushed away easily.
Contrary to popular belief, gutters do not create ice dams in winter. In most cases, ice dams can form when the crawl space or attic is not insulated correctly. Inspect the ventilation in these spaces, keeping in mind their inefficiency can result in roof damage regardless of whether you have gutters or not. The best remedy would be to call a professional to check the spaces and rule out underlying issues that could end up needing expensive repairs. Reach out to D’Angelo & Sons if you notice ice dam formation on your roof.